7 Lessons Learn From Hiring a CEO That Is Smarter Than Me

Seven lessons from hiring a CEO that is smarter than me. I've been an entrepreneur for roughly 22 years now. When I started out I wanted to be the head honcho, you know, the CEO, the one in charge. And ideally I wanted to be the CEO of a really big company and maybe one day that company would be publicly traded on the stock exchange. Over the years, I've learned two things about myself.


First, I am a terrible manager when it comes to managing a large amount of people such as a hundred plus people, 10, 20 people, no problem. I'm just not good when it comes to a large organization with layers.

The second thing that I learned is I don't think it's fun to be a manager or a leader. Some people enjoy it. I enjoy some aspects of it as well but I don't enjoy most of it. For example, I love helping people grow and teaching them new things but I don't enjoy tons of meetings or quarterly planning or a lot of the other things that are required from a good CEO. So over the years, I've built a business model in which I'm never the CEO of my own company.

So here are seven lessons that I learned from hiring other talented CEOs and executives over the year.

Lesson one, people grow a business. It doesn't matter if you're Elon Musk or Bill Gates, without a team it's really hard to be successful. But here's the thing, good people follow good people around. And good people don't follow bad people around. Just because someone was the CEO of another competing company it doesn't mean they were good. And you want good people or else they will bring over mediocre talent, which means you won't grow.

Second, they had to be at those jobs for a while. So if they have a good portfolio, they need to be there for a while and they need to have worked their way up in those companies, because if they worked their way up that means other people found them to be valuable and the chances are they'll do well for you. This reduces the chance of having bad people within your organization as that can be toxic and that can slow down growth.

Lesson two, as a marketer, I always believe that the best way to grow a company is marketing combined with a good product or service. And keep in mind, I'm young, being that I'm in my 30s I don't have as much experience as some of these seasoned executives who are in their 50s or 60s. One thing I learned from working with these seasoned executives is that a business also grows with time.

Lesson three, experience doesn't always equal to being right. By no means, do I think I know everything, if I did, I would be the CEO of my own company versus hiring one. But what has allowed me to continually build companies that are successful and grow fast is that I think outside the box, and I'm always willing to try new things to achieve better growth, especially ones that my competition think are a waste of time and they aren't willing to try out.

Lesson four, don't try to do everything your way. You are hiring a CEO or executive because they can do a job better than you. If they can't don't hire them. But when you hire them, you have to let them do certain things their way. You can't have the your way or highway mentality. As the saying goes, there are multiple ways to skin a cat. Your way may be correct, but their way may also be correct too.

Less than five, you can't take culture for granted. Culture helps you recruit and retain people. Culture helps you build an amazing company that builds a great product or service that people love. It also helps you make an impact with your team members, your customers, and even the world.

Lesson six, CEOs have to set an example. I hate hiring executives who only want to manage and tell other people what to do. I look for player coaches. They of course, should be able to run a company and manage people, but they have to be willing to get their hands dirty and do work themselves. I want them to be a great individual contributor for at least a portion of their time.

Lesson seven, talent and brains can't replace hard work. I used to hire really smart people who were naturally talented and just were great at what they did. But many of those people were just lazy. These days, I don't care if someone went to Harvard, Stanford, heck I don't even care what their grades were in college or even if they have a college degree. If someone isn't a hard worker you are screwed because if they aren't willing to work hard how can you expect the rest of the company to work hard?

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34 Responses to 7 Lessons Learn From Hiring a CEO That Is Smarter Than Me

  1. The World Is A Stage September 29, 2022 at 2:30 pm #

    How do you hire one when you’re bootstrapping?

    • Neil Patel September 29, 2022 at 3:11 pm #

      You may not be able to hire one right away.

    • WhatsApp† ①⑨①⑨⑥ ⑦④⑦⑨⑧② September 30, 2022 at 12:03 pm #


  2. shadowbee September 29, 2022 at 2:40 pm #

    Hey Neil, I admire you and I want to be just like you. Please can I know the basic skills you had or developed when you were coming up.

    • Neil Patel September 29, 2022 at 3:12 pm #

      I appreciate that 🙂 I really just taught myself SEO and did different experiments online to see what works and what doesn’t!

    • shadowbee September 29, 2022 at 3:24 pm #

      @Neil Patel did you learn web-development?

    • WhatsApp† ①⑨①⑨⑥ ⑦④⑦⑨⑧② September 30, 2022 at 12:03 pm #


  3. andy andy September 29, 2022 at 3:19 pm #

    It works great

    • Neil Patel September 30, 2022 at 3:34 pm #

      Good to hear

  4. Aurobindo Ghosh September 29, 2022 at 6:02 pm #

    why not become the ceo instead of hiring ceo?

    • James Scott September 30, 2022 at 12:41 am #

      Watch the video lol

    • Buvan Guna September 30, 2022 at 2:46 am #

      He explained it in the video.

    • Neil Patel September 30, 2022 at 3:34 pm #

      You can see that answer in the video 🙂

    • Aurobindo Ghosh September 30, 2022 at 5:21 pm #

      @Buvan Guna which video?

    • Buvan Guna September 30, 2022 at 7:02 pm #

      @Aurobindo Ghosh This video.

  5. Muhammad Arshad Sajjad September 29, 2022 at 6:25 pm #

    Hi Mr. Neil…
    I’m so confused about what’s my keywords for ranking so I want to take your help please guide me as you say on keyword research that ranks on those keywords which have 40 SEO difficulties (SD) is so difficult to rank on these SEO difficulties.

    I’m using the Ubersuggest premium version in my keyword research there are no 40 SD score keywords. So please guide me I can use another keyword which has above 40 to 91.

    • Neil Patel October 3, 2022 at 3:45 pm #

      You can, but it’s going to be more difficult to rank for those. Try going after longtail keywords.

  6. Digi Reviews September 29, 2022 at 8:10 pm #

    Nice get such content

    • Neil Patel September 30, 2022 at 3:34 pm #

      Thanks 🙂

  7. Buvan Guna September 30, 2022 at 2:49 am #

    “Instead, I hire people who are smarter than me.” You got to admit that must be a very small pool. Especially in your verticals.

    • Neil Patel September 30, 2022 at 3:31 pm #

      Smarter than me at different things! For example, I’m good at digital marketing but I’m not the most business savvy. I hire someone who is great at business to handle that side of things 🙂

    • Buvan Guna October 1, 2022 at 1:40 pm #

      @Neil Patel And you’re not too shabby business leader also. A seasoned hand is always welcomed though.

  8. Kop_Football_9 September 30, 2022 at 5:00 am #

    Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.

    • Neil Patel September 30, 2022 at 3:32 pm #


  9. Benson Ndung'u September 30, 2022 at 6:37 am #

    One day since I came across your videos,I am so grateful for the way you are explaining everything perfectly and freely,May God Bless you sir,I wanna one time own an online store under your mentorship,Learning alot from you

    • Neil Patel September 30, 2022 at 3:33 pm #

      You are so welcome 🙂

  10. Anika Dsilva September 30, 2022 at 8:20 am #

    Heyy! I needed a video on how to create product images for my blog. Could you help me?

    • Neil Patel September 30, 2022 at 3:32 pm #

      I’ll keep that in mind 🙂

  11. Ali Esam September 30, 2022 at 11:49 pm #

    I work in the field of graphics for Saudi Arabia, designing logos and designs for social media, in general, I need general advice if possible

    • Neil Patel October 3, 2022 at 3:36 pm #

      What specifically are you looking for advice on? Because I think the tips in the video are relevant 🙂

  12. deepak kumar paul October 1, 2022 at 11:01 am #

    sir, i can’t find YouTube tab in fb search box to link with my page, there are lot of YouTube tab but the one which I need can’t find.. what to do?

  13. Manoj Agadi October 3, 2022 at 10:12 am #

    Amazing Information On Hiring a CEO Sir.

    • Neil Patel October 3, 2022 at 3:30 pm #

      Glad it was helpful!

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